Appearing on the cover of Kerrang, Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor opened up about his experience with drugs and alcohol and his current state of sobriety.

Reznor admits (via NME) that he “romanticized” the role of drugs and alcohol in his life. “I’m not saying it didn’t provide great moments of great escape and relief, and easing of pain, but it wound up creating chaos and destroying things—destroying creativity in my case.”

After getting sober, Reznor says there was an “awkward adjustment of learning how to live” without drugs or alcohol. “Once I got on stable ground and started to understand how my brain worked without all that, musically at least, I can do more because I can remember what I did. I can think deeper about things.”

He concludes that the band’s latest Not the Actual Events “was I think one of the uglier records I’ve written in a long time, certainly sober. I’m allowed to go down some dark holes that I realized, in sobriety I hadn’t allowed myself to.”